Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when everyone and his dog Tyge is encouraged [1] to pick up a sappy card [2], some nasty candy [3] or ridiculous stuffed animal [4] in hopes of pleasing his or her particular Valentine [5].

Sure, it’s never been my favorite holiday [6] (that honor goes to Halloween) and I never really could take a day devoted to romance [7] with the initials V.D. [8] very seriously. And I guess I, of all people, have the utmost reason for despising said date since my first wife left me on Valentine’s Day [9]. Yeah, I know – it’s the stuff that romantic comedies [10] are made of but a blasted dagger in the backside when it comes to actual real-life experience [11].

That’s why I feel the need to buck tradition [12] and hand out to you, me hearties, an ambitious little tome called 100 THINGS I HATE ABOUT VALENTINE’S DAY.

First off, they indoctrinate you when you’re young [13]. You’ve got that horrid little elementary school ritual [14] of handing out those crappy bulk valentines [15] that your mom buys at the drug store [16]. Mr. T? GI Joe? Smurfs? [17] These are NOT icons of love [18], not the pictorial representations of Amor [19], not the characters that should be on a Valentine’s Day card! No, these are merely childish drawings etched onto cheap paper [20] to make a quick buck at the expense of gullible children [21]. Hey, that’s what the holiday is all about [22]. Best you learn at an early age.

But more insidious than the worthless handouts of youth [23] is that socialistic tenet that your school teacher always handed out: “You must bring enough valentines for everyone in the class [24]!” As if! Forget attempting to impress that pre-adolescent crush you had [25], you’ve got to hand write [26] messages to every single little snot in your third grade [27]! How will Tammy, that cute little pig-tailed lass you’ve been eyeing during kickball ever know you truly care [28] when you’ve made up lovey notes for D’Angelo, the class screw up, and Ricky, the class bully [29]? And to make matters worse, when you do the math and compare the number of cards you handed out to the number you received, there is a net loss [30]! Some stingy bastard didn’t reciprocate [31]! Sigh. Not even the pink-frosted cupcake at lunch [32] with the insulin-shock-inducing candy message heart [33] on top can make up for the hell that’s thrown your way this Valentine’s Day!

Does the experience get any better? No way! Screw optimism [34]! Next comes middle school, with its inevitable Valentine’s Day Dance [35]. You’ve barely embarked upon puberty, how the heck does anyone expect you to truly understand the subtleties of love, like, lust and libido [36]? So you have to make a decision on whether to suck up enough courage to ask your current obsession to the dance [37] or stay at home and watch a very special episode of The Fresh Prince. [38] Either way, it’s disappointment [39], desperation [40] and doubt [41]. But get use to ’em; they’ll be your confreres for many a Valentine’s Day to come [42].

High school? No better. Aside from the perfunctory dance, there are plenty of parties [43] and other social gatherings [44]. Couples only, of course [45]. And should you be lucky enough to have a special someone, cast aside apprehension that odds are your post-elementary squeeze will not last [46] and simply make the most of your time together. Just worry about doing the day right [47]. Worry about the small things that mean so much, like that first date [48], that first kiss [49] and that – gulp – first time [50].

I’ll tell you though; one of the most traumatic things about Valentine’s Day at my high school was the pressure that was put on the students [51] via the ever-popular secret Valentine exchanges [52]. One year, the school choral group offered to sing songs to that special someone of your choice [53]. I got one. It was anonymous [54]. This blasted choral group invades my class [55], embarrasses the hell out of me [56] with a rendition of Baby Face and then won’t tell me who sent it [57]! Could be the girl of my dreams, I’ll never know [58].

Of course, all that just goes to show how a body can get the wrong end of the stick. If only that weren’t the tip of the iceberg [59]. As an adult, I learned that Valentine’s Day can be a monstrous reminder of one’s inherent loneliness [60] or perhaps a gut-wrenching tour de force of love [61]. If there’s someone you’re mildly interested in, do you let on by asking them out [62]? Risk rejection [63] and heartache [64]? Worse yet, if you’re with someone, in a relationship, what do you do, what do you get them [65]? The expectations are gonna be high [66] you can bet.

Candy? Some calorie-laden Whitman’s Sampler [67] that’s sure to get you in hot water with your loved one [68]? Flowers? Some over-priced [69] perfumed bouquet [70] that’s bound to die in a few days [71], no doubt a metaphor for your love, she’ll charge [72]? Or a sickeningly sweet Hallmark card [73] that doesn’t even come close to conveying your real feelings [74]? Better yet: you could make your own card [75] but what are you, in kindergarten? How about jewelry? Are you certain of her ring size or positive you know her tastes [76]? Get that wrong and you’re dead meat. And lingerie [77]? Puh-lease!

No, presents are only ancillary. The real measure of your worth on Valentine’s is what you plan to do with the day [78]. An evening out might say nothing more than “I am a drone completely lacking in imagination [79].” An evening in might say nothing more than “I am a selfish bastard who thinks only of my personal gratification [80].” You’ve got to get the balance just right [81]. Woe betides the sucker who screws it all up [82].

To sum it all up, Valentine’s Day is in cold, nasty February [83], the shortest month of them all [84]. It’s most often associated with a gangland massacre [85], a freakish cherub [86] who flies around shooting people with arrows [87] and a crappy movie [88] starring Denise Richards and David Boreanaz. And don’t even get me started on himself [89], a man whose story history can’t even get straight [90]. What people don’t realize is we are actually celebrating the date of his beheading [91]! Maybe that’s why the iconic hearts [92] are all red [93].

So put on some romantic music [94], write some love poems [95] and turn on the all-new Peanuts special A Charlie Brown Valentine [96] or some reality TV drek that’s been repackaged as a holiday special [97]. And maybe open a bottle of Cold Duck [98]. Why the hell not? If you’re not in a committed relationship, you might as well just get lousy stinkin’ drunk anyhow [99]. Because what’s the option? Marriage [100]? Yeah, right.

Happy bloody Valentine’s Day. The only way it could be any good is if it was built around actress Karen Valentine. That I’d celebrate.

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